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BRAZIL
No indigenous policy
9/10/2009
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UN rapporteur denounces government’s failure to protect indigenous peoples.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous People James Anaya warned that Brazil´s government policies on the indigenous population “lack coherence.”

Following a 12-day visit last year to the Brazilian states Amazonas, Roraima and Mato Grosso, Anaya noted in a report published Aug. 18 that indicators such as education levels remain low for indigenous groups.

He added that indigenous peoples in Brazil are not consulted by authorities on issues that directly affect them such as the extraction of natural resources.

The report discussed the illegal occupation of indigenous lands despite the fact that they are clearly demarcated and registered to protect these communities and their resources.

According to the Brazilian Geography and Statistics Institute, 0.4 percent of Brazil´s population — some 800,000 people — is indigenous, and mainly lives in the Amazonian states of Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima, Tocantins, Mato Grosso and Maranhão.

In an interview with Planalto news radio station, Saulo Feitosa, secretary of the Indigenous Missionary Council, an office of the Catholic Church, said the government should integrate policies to meet indigenous communities´ needs.

“There´s a big gap between the law written on paper and what happens in practice,” he said. “What we understand is that the report criticizes the national policy because it does not incorporate pro-indigenous policies.”

Anaya recommended alliances between federal, state and municipal authorities to improve indigenous people´s access to education, respecting their cultures.
—Latinamerica Press.


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